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The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (ix) Conclusion

The English language is a living communicative tool. Story writing is an art and a craft as well. As an art, it gives immense pleasure to both the writer and the reader. As a craft, it means that one must strive to develop writing skills from one level to the next through practice, exposure to good model stories and constructive reflection.
Beginning writers should not be fazed by the number of mistakes made, how so difficult it is to generate good ideas and the limited vocabulary bank you have. Read widely and be conscious of how others put words into sentences and how sentences become great gems of ideas.

Intermediate level writers should aim to be proficient writers, sharing your writings with friends and not forgetting to hone your craft by experimenting with various writing styles and explore the wonderful ‘world of writings’ out there. Happy writing!



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (viii) Detecting Errors

(How to) Detect Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)?

Ideally, every piece of writing should begin with a draft. But in class and during exams without the luxury of time, only 50 minutes, one has to plan, write and adapt as the writing progresses from paragraph to paragraph seamlessly and coherently. This is where the skill and ability to read, check and change are useful and essential tools for beginning and intermediate writers. Even adult writers need to re-check their writings in their daily work as well as in everyday emails.

Some good pointers are:

check after completing one or two paragraphs instead of waiting till the last sentence as there will be too much to screen through and you will surely miss something as you read through chunks of text. By checking after every one or two paragraphs, it keeps you on track and focused.

develop an effective habit of checking spelling, punctuation and the use of pronouns as you move from sentence to sentence; with practice, it can be done quite effortlessly.

zoom into tenses, structures and syntax next. This really requires a certain level of language competency but anything less would produce a less than satisfactory piece of writing, no matter how much good ideas had gone into the whole process of developing the story.

look again at how the story develops; are the ideas logical and relevant to the plot and are there any gaps which need to be addressed. It is good to be imaginative but being incredible is an ‘overkill’.



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (vii) Be Different

(How to) Be Different (Beginning & Ending)?

Great and successful movies have something special that tells a story and filmed in a refreshing and different way, and it is this freshness in the presentation that somehow mesmerises and also surprises. All too common beginnings are like, ‘It was a dark and stormy night’, ‘One day last week’, ‘After school, my friends and I’ or ‘I woke up bright and early’.

Besides being dull, most students would also be using such simple and unimaginative phrases to start a story or a new paragraph. Better examples are :

Beginnings

The glow of the orange setting sun rested between the hills as darkness slowly and quietly descended upon our campsite while hundreds of night creatures stirred noisily from their slumber.

“Come here everyone! Look, what I’ve found and it’s heavy too!” gasped May as she slumped to the ground, breathless and her face stained with streaks of dirt and beads of perspiration.

Never again would I leave the house without my mother’s permission. I could still remember very vividly how that unforgettable day began so innocently but little did I realise that it was the calm before the perfect storm.

Avoid ending your writing like what you would do in class writing. Common endings are : ‘I was given a reward for ….’, ‘The Principal praised me during assembly for. . .’ or ‘I went home and told my parents about the good deed . . .’. Be more creative!

Endings

We ran without once looking back at the eerie building, well aware that there was someone or something behind the window curtains watching us leave. Needless to say, we never went back ever again.

The red-faced boys sank to the ground and bowed their heads, too ashamed to face their less than happy parents. With a wise look and in her usual motherly voice, the Principal smiled and said, “The more you have, the more you want.”

As I looked at the letter of appreciation, I was glad that all my effort has paid off. Even though I did not win but by putting up a good fight till the very end, I have proved that I am capable of hard work and once again proved that ‘Honesty is the best policy’.



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (vi) Using Dialogues

(How to) Use Dialogues?

Dialogue, also known as direct speech is a powerful tool in writing as it enhances the flavour, adds personality, encourages thinking, creates suspense and can turn a dull piece of work into a great reading piece. It can also give details to the characters’ personalities and emotions. Beginners would need to learn the skills of punctuation and grammatical conventions before using direct speeches in writing. However overusing dialogues can overload the reader and distract how thethe story should develop as unnecessary information only adds to the word count.

Besides using ‘said’, ‘asked’ or ‘answered’ in forming direct speeches, you can build up a bank of ‘said’ words for use in your writing. These are :

argued yelled commented requested demanded
muttered shouted protested exclaimed squealed
mumbled whispered replied stammered

To write effectively using direct speech, one needs to imagine the way in which the characters would talk. Some expressions would be short and ‘loud’ like “Oh No!” or “What is going on?”. Other forms of direct speech may hint at revealing how the story would develop in the next paragraph; “If you do that, you are putting everyone in mortal danger!” or “What are we going to tell mother when she comes home?”

But remember to put in the correct punctuation marks like commas, exclamation and question marks, full-stops, opening and closing speech marks at the right places.



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (v) Describing Feelings

(How to) Describe Feelings (Emotions)?

What makes a piece of writing great would be how actions and the characters inter-play in a story. More than that, it is important to make the characters come alive, putting some ‘real’ feelings into humans as the story unfolds. The common feelings and emotions would include happiness, anger, sadness, fear and excitement.

Here are some examples :

– squealed in delight and jumped around ecstatically like children in a candy store
– his face broke into a toothy grin and his eyes were filled with tears of joy
– putting her tiny arms around her relieved mother, she looked miserable but safe
– in between soft pitiful sobs, pearls of tears flowed down her red and tender cheeks
– bowed his head in shame, staring at an invincible object on the floor in uneasy silence
– his body shook with uncontrollable rage as he clenched his fists tightly to control his anger yet his nostrils was flaring and eyes bulging, about to explode at any moment



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (iv) Describing Action

(How to) Describe Action(s)?

Actions are the life blood in story writing. It need not be action-packed from paragraph to paragraph, but what the characters do must be consistent with the composition topic and serve as linkages which must be logical and lead to a satisfying conclusion. Writers use figurative language by incorporating the correct forms of verbs, adjectives and adverbs in grammatically structured sentences. Better writers would also include similes, idioms and proverbs to spice up the actions and entertain the reader.

Consider these examples :
– two angry boys grabbing and tugging at each others’ already torn and tattered shirt
– leaping two steps at a time, he fell clumsily like a log, landing in a twisted heap at the bottom of the stairs
– walked menacingly towards her, inching closer every minute and sending a cold shiver down her spine
– roared with laughter until their bellies ached, unable to stop wiping away the tears which had turned their vision blurry
– struggling on all fours, he lifted himself up ignoring that throbbing headache only to collapsed back into his pool of disgusting vomit
– kicking the door open in one swift movement, a sharp pain shot through his ankle but the bloody mess and chaos he saw up close shocked him to the core



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (iii) Describing People

(How to) Describe People (Characters)?

The people in the story are the characters. There may be just one main character or a few. A good description of the person(s) brings the story to life, connects the reader to the plot and enables one to ‘feel’ for the characters. It is quite common for students to just gloss over the character(s) without sufficient details which can be improved upon with just a little more effort.

Here are some examples:
a man

– with a sallow and dull complexion framing a cold and expressionless face
– an unusually slim face with sunken cheeks covered with a sea of pockmarks
– beneath his T-shirt were broad muscular shoulders resting on a well built body

a boy

– in a stained T-shirt with clumps of damp hair in a tangle mess, partly hiding his face
– grinning ear to ear was a chubby and adorable school boy with an angelic face
– a bespectacled and shy boy looking smart in neatly pressed pants and shirt

a woman

– looking elegant and sophisticated with sparkling jewellery like a Christmas tree
– with visible strands of white hair and wiry wrinkles betraying years of toiling
– her snow white complexion and almond shaped eyes attracted many stares



Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (ii) Describe The Scene

(How to) Describe The Scene?

Whatever composition topic is given, a story must happen somewhere; that is the scene. It could be a market, the canteen, a shopping mall or a park. It is important to bring the reader into this scene, even though everyone knows what a market or a park looks like. It requires the writer to be more creative and move away from a too simplistic description of the scene as this is the start of the story and everything develops from this starting point.

Some better alternatives are :
beach scene

the sky was an huge expanse of blue, dotted with clumps of white cotton clouds, drifting lazily from left to right, just like in a postcard

outdoors

I was gladly greeted by arrows of bright morning sunlight breaking through the thick leaves covering the forest and tiny creatures of every sizes stirred in the thick foliage.

encounters

The journey home felt cold, long and lonely. The street and pavement stood empty except for shiny pools of rainwater. Suddenly she heard noises close behind her. Sue realised that she was not alone in the dark and slippery alley. She knew it could not be stray cats. Many frightening images flashed through her mind.

Further Reading:
(i)Introduction
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

The 7 Ds Of Narrative Writing In Primary Schools (i) Introduction

Narratives are stories about characters in fictitious situations. In such writings, the writer is like a film producer, trying to capture the readers’ attention through words and sentences that convey actions, plots, meanings, feelings and connections in a skilful manner.

In schools, students are given different composition topics to practise which require them to generate logical and interesting ideas, develop their language competencies and experiment with various styles of developing good story writing skills. Writing is more than just stating what someone did at a certain place due to certain circumstances. More than that, writing must ‘enlighten’ and ‘illustrate’ the action, people and scenario like a movie does.

If a student writes – ‘The boy tripped and fell into the big drain’. A reader or a teacher would want to know more :

what kind of a boy is he? – naughty, playful, athletic, careless or clumsy
how does he look like? – skinny with spiky hair and huge bookish glasses
what tripped him? – a rock, his shoe laces, a cat or was he day dreaming
what kind of drain? – smelly, dirty drain with disgusting and filthy rubbish
where is this drain? – beside a busy road, in front of the shops or near home
how would he feel? – foolish, terrified, embarrassed, stunned or bewildered

The following pointers serve to provide and imbue beginning and intermediate young writers with some useful tips on writing well and writing meaningfully in class or for exams.

1. Describe The Scene
2. Describing People (Characters)
3. Describing Action(s)
4. Describing Feelings (Emotions)
5. Using Dialogues
6. Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
7. Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)

Which I will further elaborate in the following posts.

Further Reading:
(ii) Describe the Scene
(iii) Describing People (Characters)
(iv)Describing Action(s)
(v)Dscribing Feelings (Emotions)
(vi)Using Dialogues
(vii)Be Different (Beginning & Ending)
(viii)Detecting Errors (Nothing Is Perfect)
(ix)Conclusion

Mr. James Chow (Nov 2013)
English Tutor
Kent Ridge Tutors @ Jurong

For more information, please contact us via

Jurong West Branch (KRTC@JW)
Email : jurongwest@krtc.com.sg
Hotline : (+65) 6397 0444

Mindmapping for Primary Maths & Science

To Empower my students to Gain a Successful Advantage by Learning Concepts that make Difficult Questions Easy.

Mind Mapping is a great technique that will improve our thinking skills and memory. Our brain has the ability to learn and remember large amounts of information, but only if these ideas are connected systematically and logically together. By mimicking how nature and our own brain works, ordinary people like all of us can be genius in a sense!

Many of my students’ first encounters with mind mapping are either in some expensive enrichment program or in a few special science lessons in their primary schools. However, when asked whether they apply it in their daily school work, they would probably say no. And why not? Simply because constructing a mind map on paper is just too time-consuming and troublesome. Sadly, just a few lessons are unlikely to make any significant long term impact.

Since 2010, I have been constructing MindMaps of the primary school syllabus for Maths and Science using a mindmapping program. After many refinements with feedbacks and valuable contributions from my students, it has been completed and available for all my lessons. Now my students can truly enjoyed the full benefits of MindMapping without spending too much time constructing them on their own.

The Mindmapping experience so far for many of my students is almost miraculous. Every lesson became alive in big screen with colours, graphics and sometimes videos. Difficult concepts became easier. Time spend on each topic was reduced by half, so in-depth discussion time doubled. Results within a few months improved significantly as they gained new-found interests in the topics they used to find boring. Join in my classes now to experience it yourself!

By Mr Oliver Chan
Primary Science & Maths Tutor
Kent Ridge Education (KRTC) @ Jurong

For more information, please refer to the tutor profile